Padilla said he would try to play catch Sunday.
Padilla had surgery on his forearm on Feb. 24 to free a radial nerve entrapped by a muscle that had been bothering him for years. The only Major Leaguer known to have had a similar operation was Milwaukee pitcher Jeff D'Amico in 2001. He returned in two months.
Because the procedure was rare, the club never issued a timetable for Padilla's return -- there wasn't enough history to comfortably predict a likely rehab. Padilla seems to be recovering quicker than anyone anticipated, although the bullpen session was his first major test.
"I don't know if he's ahead or behind," manager Don Mattingly said. "There was no timetable because there is no history of the injury. [Being disabled] is still up in the air. He's progressing nicely. But he hasn't been out there [in a game], and to be ready by [March] 31 and comfortable enough, it's hard to say."
On Friday, Padilla made 30 throws and was monitored with a radar gun to assure he wouldn't surpass 80 mph, although he threw easily and appeared to have more in the tank.
Padilla was re-signed to serve in a swing role, primarily out of the bullpen, but with the ability to slide into a starting spot if needed. With Jon Garland having suffered an oblique injury, a substitute fifth starter might be needed by April 12. Padilla would be available sooner if he builds arm strength for relief and not starting.